Ever have one of those moments where something comes to you in the middle of the night and you’re almost certain it’s going to work? That’s exactly how I felt when I thought of this French toast casserole, or bake. I have always loved french toast, but had a vision for making this into a bake and caramelize some of my favorite apples to go along with it.
I have fallen in love with apples all over again after I found these SweetTango apples from Whole Foods. They are super juicy, slightly tart, and the perfect amount of sweet. They resemble Gala apples pretty closely, but are not as sweet. As I caramelized them, they held up to the butter and brown sugar, and were very tender when they baked. I was quite pleased. What I also love about this particular French toast bake is that the ingredients are super simple.
Here’s what you’ll need: *edited as of May 17th 2020
- 4 large eggs
- I use Organic Valley for all my dairy products, and you can find out why by visiting their website here. They are one of the only farms I know that really lives up to their pasture-raised and organic mission and donate regularly to charities and causes.
- 1 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 loaf Challah bread, cut into cubes
- 2 apples, diced into smaller chunks
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Ground nutmeg*
- Ground cloves*
- Ground cinnamon*
- *I actually used Primal Palate’s Apple Pie Spice for the apples as well as added a dash of it into the custard mixture.
Preheat the oven to 375* degrees. Begin with chopping and dicing the apples into smaller chunks. Take two tbsp of butter and melt into a large pan. Add the apples and toss/coat until all of the apples are coated with butter. Let sit and begin to soften on a medium heat. Add in spices and toss. Take 1/4 cup brown sugar (or coconut sugar) and add to the apples, this will help the apples brown and soften more. Lower the heat to simmer and set aside after 5 minutes. Be sure to check that the apples are not burning.
In the meantime, whisk the eggs and milk together, adding in the spices, vanilla, and maple syrup. You can let this sit as you cut the challah bread into smaller chunks. Using a baking pan or dish, assemble the diced brioche and pour the egg mixture into the challah, letting it soak up the egg and milk; make sure you coat all of the bread. Once the apples are done, layer the apples onto the bread and fill all open spaces with apples.
Take the remaining butter and brown sugar and whisk together (or by hand) to form a crumble. Sprinkle on top of the casserole as evenly as you can. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until there is no bubbling and all the egg has cooked and set. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or whipped cream and you’ve got a delicious brunch treat! NOMaste 🙂